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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 18, 2011 7:30am-9:00am EST

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and i think the fact that he's surrounded by books which is his petition and also he -- he's surrounded by a lot of young people and it keeps him alive and he's got a great buzz for life. so i find him quite inspiring in that way. >> i just think that this place in general, like a lot of people who have come through and have not been as nearly as bookish, when they walked in the door when they walk out -- when you live with books, you just -- you find the beauty in them. >> but you feel so ignorant. >> oh? >> i have always had a very, very vast array of interests. here, i just feel so small but there's days i can almost know everything by talking to the people and just listening to stories and reading a lot but there's other times where all these books are going to crush in but then you meet the people who just tell you that it's just a matter of researching and finding a way. i don't know, it's very symbolic to me being amongst so many
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voices, so many books. >> is she the only child that you have? >> in a way the only way. in another way i have thousands of children all over the world. >> she came a little late in life for you, didn't she? >> not for me. i'm just beginning to live. when i'm 100 years old, come visit me and i'll tell you more storie stories. >> and are you going to stay here you think for the rest of your life? >> i couldn't say at the moment. but i would love to. i love paris. i love the bookshop and it's such a great opportunity to meet diverse people and it's a fantastic place. i love acting and the shop is a theater in itself.
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>> does the store now make money every year? >> the store -- well, i mean, my father knows more about that than i do. i mean, it seems -- it's kept going for 50 years which is quite amazing in a way because it's run quite haphazardly. it probably is it. it's a wonderful position opposite notre dame but there's also a lot of problems here that need to be fixed and organized. [no audio]
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>> in march 1964 jacqueline kennedy sat down to record seven interviews totaling over eight hours to include the first lady's remembrances of her husband's political life in the white house. caroline kennedy presents her mother's recordings next followed by a panel discussion that includes michael, ted and richar richard. >> good evening. you've read the news stories, bought your copies of the book, watch the abc prime time special, morning television and even "the daily show" with jon stewart and now tonight live from the kennedy library, with this aural history that was so carefully housed for the past half century we'll hear directly from jacqueline kennedy about her life with our 35th president and from their daughter who has
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brought this fresh new history to light. i'm tom putnam director of the john f kennedy library. and on behalf of ton naught, members of the foundation, many of whom are here with us tonight and all of my library and foundation colleagues. i thank you for coming and all those watching on c-span. and acknowledge the generous underwriters of the kennedy library forums meet born bank of america, boston capital, >> doumths and artifacts from our collection reads, jacqueline kennedy had a rare combination of gifts, intelligence, courage discipline, artistic creativity and a style all her own. she had an adventurous spirit
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and was an accomplished horse woman who lived life at full gallop. the aural history provides of many mrs. kennedy's personal recollections and insights and i hope you will allow me to comment on this one. when asked by arthur schlesinger whose son andrew who is here with us this evening about where the president best relaxed. mrs. kennedy said while it was sailing. he loved the sun and the water and not the phone. and she remembers jfk blistney happy with the wind blowing his hair and adds it was for him what getting out on a horse was for me. through her thoughtful forward to the book and some of her mother's recollections we also learn about caroline kennedy whose presence animates this institution like no other and whose steady leadership has put this library in the forefront of the presidential library system and providing worldwide access to archival collections. we learn of the adventure stories her father told caroline as a young gil, stories about two ponies, white star and black
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star. as he wove these tales, the president allowed her which pores to ride and which of her cousins should ride on the other. in an interview in parade magazine caroline described stevie smith as her adversary this hall is maimed for. if asked if she was always the heroine of course, would you want to go bed knowing stevie smith triumphed over you. [laughter] >> we'll open with a brief introduction from the triumphant horse woman in our mist and our panel will include michael described by "newsweek" as the leading presidential historian who wrote the introduction to this new book as well as its extensive annotations. and richard k. donahue, a member of the kennedy administration, the vice chair of the kennedy library foundation board of directors who knew and worked with jacqueline kennedy in the white house, here in massachusetts and during the 1960 campaign. we're delighted to have ted
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widow mr. a former speechwriter for president bill clinton and now the director of brown university as the evening's moderator. toward the end of the program we'll take written questions from the audience. there are index cards available and staff will collect them from here. we have vicki kennedy, katherine kennedy townsend, steven smith himself and two former kennedy administration officials who both happen to be my predecessors as director of this library, charles daley and dan finn and joining us this evening is jim gardener who among other duties overseized the presidential system for the national archives. a nation reveals itself by the men and women it produces jfk once stated and in jacqueline kennedy this nation produced a most remarkable woman. among the many complements one can bestow on this book is that it's truly revelatory of her exterior life, keen wit and historical accomplishments. as maureen dowd noted in a
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recent column who else could read war and peace during the wisconsin primary. persuade the french to lend the mona lisa to the u.s. and encouraged white house chefs to serve french cuisine for french dinners rather than irish stew. the "boston globe" praised caroline for this aural history and for posterity to judge these recordings for all. she's our own gallant knight still astride and galloping through these troubled times on behalf the causes her parents believed in not the least of which is an appreciation of history. much is revealed caroline writes in the forward to the new book by her mother's statements, her tone and even her pauses. and the same can be said of a decision to public this aural history by the daughter
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jacqueline kennedy raised so well. ladies and gentlemen, caroline kennedy. [applause] >> good evening. thank you all for coming. i want to thank the staff of the library and the foundation for the stewardship and the tremendous care and dedication that they show every day here at the library. and the board members who are here and people that i've worked with over the years. and especially the members of my family who are here. it means so much to me and i think it's a wonderful tribute to our parents that we're all here together. so thank you all. most importantly, it means a great deal that 50 years after my father's presidency, so many people still share his vision for america. and are interested in learning about his administration. his time is really becoming part
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of history rather than living memory. yet president kennedy's words, his spirit and example remain as vital as ever. now when young people often feel disconnected from politics, it is up to us as adults to reach across the generations and recommit ourselves and our country to the ideals he lived by. for my family and the kennedy library, the goals of these anniversary years are to stimulate interest in public service and use the power of history to help us solve the problems of our own time. we've undertaken a number of important projects. we've created the largest presidential digital archive in which my father's papers are now available online worldwide so that people can study his decisions and see history in the making. we've launched the jfk 50th website which includes downloadable exhibits and curriculum for students and
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where kids can upload testimonials in the search of jfk. we've encouraged scientific innovation and the space program and the quest for nuclear disarmament. all issues that continue to shape our national destiny. and as you all know we've published the seven interviews my mother gave in 1964 as part of an aural history project in which more than 1,000 people were interviewed about my father's life and career. when these interviews were completed, she sealed the audiotapes here at the kennedy library and put the transcripts in a safe deposit vault in new york. though she often spoke of them to me and john, few other people knew of their existence and she never gave another interview on the subject. the underlying goal of the aural history project which was the
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largest of its kind at the time was to capture recollections while they were fresh before the stories had been told a million times or become overly mistologyized. no one interview was expected to be complete or comprehensive. but together with the underlying documentary record and historical archive housed here at the kennedy library, it was hoped that they might form a composite picture that would be valuable in heart years. to me their most important value is they make history come alive. they give us is glimpse of the human side of the people in the white house and remind us that they are just as imperfect as the rest of us. people have been surprised that my mother, who was so famously private, participated in this project and gave it her full commitment, but to me it makes perfect sense. my parents shared a love of history. as a child my father was sick a
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great deal. while his brothers and sisters were out running football, he spent hours reading in bed. i have his books on british parliamentary history, the federalist papers, the american civil war and the great orators of ancient times. my mother preferred novels, poetry and memoirs. as tom said, she read war and peace during the wisconsin primary, two bleak winter landscapes. [laughter] >> she has nice things to say about wisconsin also. and she always told the best preparation of the white house was reading the memoirs of duke how courtiers jockey for the king's attention at the court of louis the xiv. my father brought the same intellectual curiosity to current affairs some when she was engaged and first married to my father she translated countless french books for him about the struggles for independence in the french colonies of algeria, tunisia,
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vietnam and cambodia all of which gave a deep understanding of parts of the world in which most americans were barely aware of at the time yet are still shaping our history today. so she brought to the aural history interviews a respect for accuracy and historical scholarship that's why she chose to be interviewed by arthur schlesinger, the pulitzer prize historian who had served as special assistant to my father. it took a good deal of courage to be as honest as she was but her own reading of the chronicles of the past convinced her that future generations would benefit from her commitment to tell the truth as she saw it. it wasn't easy, but she felt that she was doing this for my father's sake and for history. since this book has could you tell, some people have been surprised by her statements and opinions. in today's world of cautious political memoir, it's hard to imagine a contemporary public
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figure writing such a forthright book but she did knock dick cheney out of the number 1 bookseller list. [applause] >> so i think she deserves a lot of credit for her honesty. >> [laughter] >> one of the difficult decisions i faced was whether to edit the interviews. there are repetitions, issues that haven't stood the test of time, comments that can be taken out of context and views that she would later change. it didn't seem fair to leave them in but on the other hand, these were formal interviews, not accidentally recorded conversations. and both participants understood that they were creating a primary source document. so although there are arguments on both sides of the issue, i felt i really didn't have the right to alter the historical record. i also wanted to see what and
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how my mother thought at a particular time. it's sometimes difficult for me to recognize slightly that people feel they know her because they have a sense of her image or her style. but they've never been able to appreciate her intellectual curiosity, her sense of mischief, her deep engagement with the people and events around her and her fierce loyalty to my father. for a modern listeners one of the striking things about these interviews is how they evoke a moment in time. in her statements, my mother takes care to come across as an obedient wife of the 1950s who thinks only of creating a home for her husband and children. in keeping with the purpose of the interviews, but also in keeping with the times, arthur schlesinger asked fewer questions about her own activities or conception of her public role than an interviewer would ask a first lady today. and now that she's become sort of an international icon, it's hard to remember that she was
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only 31 when my father became president and totally overwhelmed by the prospect. it's interesting to track her evolution into a modern woman and ironic despite the hopefully old-fashioned views she holds, that transformation began in the white house. though she played a largely traditional role as first lady, like so many women she found her identity through work. when she moved into the white house, she had a 3-year-old. l[laughter] and newborn baby and lost another child. so caring for us had been a long time priority but there had been a long time since there was children in the white house and the obligations of a first lady included a busy official schedule. she fought to carve out the time that she spent with us each day. than early version of the
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work/family balance act that women are so familiar with. but she was dismayed by the uninspiring or shall we be honest and say, hideously unattractive look of the white house. and its surroundings. she shared my father's belief that american civilization had come of age and was determined to project the very best of our history, art and culture to the world. she wanted the legacy of washington, jefferson and lincoln to be visible to american students and families who visited or nation's capital and to foreign heads of state who were entertained there. so she set about to transform the white house into one of nation's premier museums of american art, decorative art and history this was more complex than redecorating, a word she didn't like. the project involved congressional oversight and interagency debate. she was determined that it be self-financing and self-sustaining. and proud that it elevated academic research and
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scholarship in the field of american art. and her television tour stimulated new interest in our pride in our cultural heritage. she set up the fine arts committee, founded the white house historical association and reorganized the white house library to showcase works of american literature. she created and mostly wrote the first guidebook and got arthur schlesinger to help with a book of presidential biographies on one page, both of which are still sold today. of course, people were eager to help her. but this was an ambitious, high visibility undertaking. and though it's hard to believe today, it was controversial and carried political risk. during my father's senate campaign in 1958, and the 1960 primaries, my mother felt that she was a political liability to my father because of her fancy french accent and clothes and his advisors did too. they lined up against the white house restoration which they thought was elitist and they
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were concerned about the propipetary of creating a guidebook. i recently came across a few memos on the subject and i thought you would might like to heard the experts. the first is from a memorandum to the president proposed sale of mementos in the white house from jack mcnally, a loyal irishman from worcester, mass. he had supporting memos of the police and the department of interior who opposed in a guidebook. my father just gave the memo to his secretary to forward to my mother who was on the cape. it reads in part, quote, the large flow of people through the white house was accomplished by the fact that there were no obstructions to slow up traffic. the secret service and white house police contend a moving
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crowd is a safe crowd. we must take into consideration the possibility of severe criticism from the public. frequent repairs are made by tourists that commercialism does not and has never existed in any form in the president's home. consideration must also be given to the impressions formed by visiting dignitaries who would be exposed to such a commercial venture in the president's home. also, possible criticism from the press and members of congress. as examples of the criticism that might result, we would like to cite the unfavorable publicity that was given to the truman balcony and the efforts of the eisenhower administration to keep squirrels off the president's putting green. this last reference was too much if for my mother who wrote in the margin, absurd. how stupid. this is not a concession stand. there's absolutely no connection. mcnally didn't stand a chance. not long afterwards my mother wrote to jb west the white house
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chief usher. mr. west, the president tells me that jack mcnally who is against selling the guide books in the beginning now says lots more could be sold on the way out. but he says this is your province and doesn't want to mention it which is rather sweet of him. i agree we can use the money, every penny is needed. not long after her commitment to history led her to pressure my father to support a unesco effort to save the egyptian temples which were going to be flooded by the construction of the dam. she wrote a long memo to jfk, which you can see downstairs, laying out the importance of the temples and suggested this would be a nice gesture to nasr as he promised in aramco not to interfere with them in saudi arabia. and she understood cold war diplomacy writing, the psychological political argument carries more weight than the economic one. the russians are building the dam as strictly an economic
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enterprise. by saving the temples, the u.s. could show they care about the spiritual side and realize the importance of saving the cultural patrimony of egypt. i think my father rolled over on this one too. the temples were saved and the temples now at the metropolitan museum in new york was the gift from the government of egypt to the people of the united states to thank them for their support. her commitment to history also led her to encourage my father to save lafayette square and start restoring pennsylvania avenue. these efforts helped launched the historical preservation movement at a time when neighborhoods across the country were being demolished for modern office buildings and urban renewal projects and she didn't give up. in 1970, she was still twisting my uncle teddy's arm. a letter to him reads, dearest teddy -- [laughter] >> you can tell where this is going. [laughter] >> i send you pat moynihan's letter to me. the week before i left the white
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house, i went to see president johnson to ask him if he would see president's committee for pennsylvania avenue. before we left washington, jack had been working on the pennsylvania avenue project. when he would trifrom the white house to the capital and sometimes we would walk halfway there at night, the tawdries ins in of the encoachment to the president's house depressed him. he wished to do something that would ensure a noble of architecture along that avenue which is the main artery of the government of the united states. this was not something that came of my trying to restore the white house. it was his own vision. that's why i felt such an urgency about asking president johnson. i knew he would have so many things piling on him. he would not give priority to the committee for pennsylvania avenue. that's why i begged him to receive them. he did. you can ask them how surprised they were to be among the first meetings of lyndon johnson. here comes the hard part. i gather from moynihan's letter
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he has reason to feel uncomfortable with you. i don't know the reasons but i can guess them. i just to tell with my all my heart that this is something that really meant to you canna, love jackie. so teddy had to resolve his differences with moynihan and as he always did for mom break and all of us, he found a way to make it happen. she defined the role of first lady for the modern age. she straddled two eras. the one she described in the oral history and stayed home and had few different opinions of their husbands or supporting their own opinions. she lived fully both. she took the traditional's woman focus in the home and transformed it into a full-time job and a source of national pride. in doing so, she created her own identity as an independent woman. she became an international
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sensation, a new kind of american speaking the languages of the country she visited with me father and traveling abroad to india and pakistan on her own. most of us, my mother was a patriot. she believed that her time in the white house was the greatest privilege and worked hard to be worthy of the honor. she loved my father and her courage held this country together after his death. and when it was over, she resumed the life of a private citizen, a status she cherished. she found the strength to create a new life for herself and embarrassed new worlds. although john and i would have preferred to stay near the penny candy store near hyannis port, she married and moved to greece and devoured everything she could about ancient civilizations and her unsuccessful efforts to teach us french. [laughter] >> like so many women of her generation she went back to work when her children was grown.
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she took tremendous satisfaction as her job from an editor and the fact it was a job she could have gotten if she had never married at all. she loved her colleagues and her authors. she enjoyed the chase for the next big bestseller. she was excited when she landed michael jackson's autobiography and she was proud to bring quality literature to a wide audience when she was the first to publish the work of the egyptian nobel laureate in english. her love of history continued to inspire her. she published an early book about sally hemmings and was always trying to get us to know of a diary of a napoleonic foot soldier that she discovered in a library. she led the fight to save grand central station and secure that victory with a landmark supreme court decision. though she rarely talked about herself and gave almost no
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interviews her evolution as a public figure and her life as a private citizen inspired millions of women to live life on their own terms and continues to do so today. when i was growing up, she often used to say she thought american history was boring because there weren't enough women in it. i'm proud that she helped to change that. and make possible the world that we're fortunate to live in today. now i'd like to share a few of my favorite excerpts with you. first, you will hear a description of my father's reading habits. then a section on the cuban missile crisis and finally a brief description of the white house restoration. i hope you enjoy them. [applause] ♪ eúeúeú
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i could never read in the afternoon or long evening in bed or something. he'd read working at the table in meals. he'd read in the bathtub. he's read prop open a book on his desk -- on his bureau while he was doing his tie. you know, he'd just read -- he'd open some book i'd be sxraegd, you know, just devour it. he really read -- sometimes you didn't think he would have time to read. >> he would read in short tales. >> and anything he wanted to remember he could always remember. you'd see things he would use in his speeches. you would be sitting next to him on some platform and suddenly out would come the sentence that two weeks ago in georgetown he would have read out loud to you one night just 'cause it interested him. >> it was mostly history and biography. >> yeah. >> why not novels do you
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suppose? >> i think he was always looking for something in books. he was looking for something about history or something for a quote. oh, at glen ora he was reagan mao. he had terribly funny stuff. i think he was looking for something in this reading. he wasn't just reading for diversion. ♪ >> he didn't want to waste a single second. ♪ >> did the president comment at all whether there should be a raid to knock the bases out or blockade or what? you mentioned mac bundy --..eúeú
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>> violated soviet airspace. >> oh, my god.
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the russians might have thought we were -- he had been telling me in hearing, anderson at the pentagon was mad about that.eú and i remember just waiting, thinking what it was like, but much worse. one ship was coming, but it didn't have anything but oil on anyway at all these ships cruising forward. and the hearing that the joseph p. kennedy was there, and he said no, we are staying. and then finally some ship came back. that was the first relief. i can't remember, you know, and
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bundy saying to me that later, if it had gone on just maybe two more days everybody would have cracked. eúeú he wrote a letter to mcnamara afterwards which he showed to jack. ♪ ♪ how does the president feel about the restoration? >> the restoration? >> of the white house. >> he was interested in it. he would always get soeú interested anything.
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he was nervous about it. he wanted to make sure they got done the right way. he sent clark clifford to seeeú me. clark clifford was really nervous because he tried to persuade me not to do it. you just can't touch the white house. he said, it's strange. everyone feels so strangely about it. if you tried making changes it will be just like that. and i said it won't be like the truman balcony. and i told him all about harryeú dupont and all the people we hope to get. it's how you would set this committee up, and certain legal things. so once jack thought it was going along with sort of good counsel, i mean, he was soeú excited about it. >> was there any criticism of the things of what you did in the wider? >> never. then the tourists would start
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going. he would come home saying we had more people today.eú than the eisenhower sat in the first two years. and the guide book was selling. so he was just so proud that i was so happy that i could do something that made him proud of me. because i'll tell you one wonderful thing about him. i was really, i was never any different once i was in the white house than before. but suddenly everything that had been a liability before, your hair, that you spoke french,eú that you didn't just adore the campaign, i think, we got in the white house, all those things i had always done, suddenly became wonderful. so i was just so happy for jack that he could be proud of me than.
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because it made him so happy. it made me so happy, those were the happiest years. [applause] [applause]
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>> good evening. can you hear us all right? in her foreword to this book, caroline said it's apparent, the passes, the gathering of the most lasting people you could ever of me. and thank you these remarkable interviews which we can you as well as read we are privileged to attend a gathering of fascinating people of the past, people ranging from edmund burke to onion burke. and at the center of this gathering is a family living in a home that has famously not been welcoming to its inhabitants that has been likened to a prison. michael, i want to start with you. you studied many presidencies, franklin roosevelt, lyndon johnson. were you struck by how may times the word happy came up in these conversations because i was.
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and something, you know, she's nothing if not france or out these interviews. and one thing that she says more than once is that when a husband is elected in 1960 she had a novel reaction, very unlike most incoming first lady's. she was terrified and she was depressed. partly because she just given birth but part of because she thought it would wreck their family life. the osha such a fishbowl and tommy pressures. and she was amazed to find as she said that it had the opposite effect. during their marriage since 1953, john kennedy had run for vice president, run for reelection in the senate. and so was gone she said almost every weekend. very much a part. the first time now they were there in that house he worked in the oval office. they were together in physical proximity a lot more. so i think there was an acceleration contrary to what she expected that there really
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weren't their happiest years spent we heard about her interesting spell of campaigning in washington -- wisconsin. >> she really loved wisconsin. >> these proceedings were being televised but i don't know a lot of pro-wisconsin speak she's extremely fond of wisconsin. everyone in wisconsin please tell me that part of laughing. >> there's a a word in the transcript i did not how to spell. it was eww. >> i think she says she didn't like a single person that she met in wisconsin except for the people that worked for jack. and in west virginia she liked almost everyone she met. >> obviously she brought great charisma to the art of campaigning and was an asset from well before the election. and in the hard work of daily
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politicking, how did the staff feel about her? >> she's great. i am sorry that she was not as happy about wisconsin as i saw her. because we were in main street, broken down storehouse, and that was the headquarters. and i remember her being there with, writing and things, and at least entertaining the people again. they found out who she was and they wanted to visit with her, and they did. so i do not remember her bad part of that. i do remember that there was a salesman for some newspaper and kept bothering her and bothering her.
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and eventually she was riding with the present because kenny o'donnell told me this come and she said you know, that fellow, i bought an ad, and he said would add? what money? my money. so it was not what they hoped it would be. but thereafter, i mean, in west virginia of course she was great. and she was marvelous. the best part about it was if you got an assignment for her, it was done completely and fastidiously, and as beautifully as it possibly could have been. so if you were on the committee, you had better make sure you did everything proper. but she was very good and that. >> one of the fastening things is that there was a film crew doing a documentary of wisconsin primary, which i'm sure many of
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you have seen, just to give you a sense of how far she came in such a short period of time, she stand there in the grocery store with a microphone almost begging people to come over and say hello, and you are still shopping and not paying any attention. i think i may have had some influence on her wisconsin to her. [laughter] quite deservedly. >> when the book was published there was a huge amount of it the attention. usually the media get some things right and something about the right. a lot of attention was paid to her remarks about the obligation of a wife that subscribe to the political opinions of her husband. a fairly substantial statement. and yet on the meters is coming in during the '60s, as you mentioned betty, the feminine mystique but should 63, obviously she had a very
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independent thought or choose a sharp judge of human nature and of all the people, popular in the white house and the actions happening all around her. she later did work. so where do you see her as a feminist in evolution? >> i would say she was an unwitting feminist in the early 1960s, and she explicitly says in the oral history i'm not a feminist like tish aldrich from her social secretary. but when you read them when you listen to her, to someone who as caroline said very well, she came to the white house and yet she decided to it her way, she found for herself an enormous project which was restore the project which was probably three careers at the same time, at the same time as she had young children. she did the job of the first lady in a way that was very much her own choice and schmidt of choices about her life, too.
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i think by the definition of feminism that we now suggest i think she was an early feminist but her political instincts would have cost her in the page to see know i'm actually not a feminist. >> does not track with you, dick? >> yes. that is, there's no question she was a feminist. she just basically took over and did a job, somebody might assign the tournament because when she undertook the remaking of the refurbishment of the correction of mistakes had been made in the white house, she did it with a strength and intelligence that captures everybody. so it is not, you know, i would not dismiss her on any count, but certainly not for her lack of some wishy-washiness. but that's not her style.
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>> one of the observations that jumped out at me reading this book was the extorted to greet of physical pain president kennedy was in for much of his adult life, including much of his presidency. take, if i can continue with you, as someone working in campaigning and congressional liaison, was that constant pain something you picked up on as a staff and why has? >> no, he never complained of pain. he complained about lack of having sufficient hard water or something in order to get a bath to relieve a back pain, but he did not complain about what was happening to him. and, indeed, i was really struck by the book because the doctor was sort of offering herself as the corrector of all illnesses, whether in including with sam
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rayburn. and it out as he was not getting her come him the relief he should have had. the latest thing with a doctor that tottenham straining and stretching was what gave him relief. but he was not a complained about anything. >> he was historic. and mrs. kennedy tells to things that illustrates that she talks about after these two back operations in 1954 and 1955, one of the most poignant things is she described what torture it was and how he went through this everything she says with a finite is absolutely unnecessary. and she says that the phone so he went back to the center county looks wonderful in his grace and historic around the senate floor as if there was nothing wrong. and you go back to bed at night in a hospital bed.
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and the other thing is that when he was president, i think dick would confirm this, the number of times we now know he was in agonizing pain you never saw it. one image of that is in spring of 1961, their first foreign visit which was to canada here and he planted a tree, and he had been told to bend his knees, not to aggravate his back. he just forgot to do it. you win over, and essentially almost ripped his back, and actually unbearable pain which he suffered in x number of months. but if you see the video of it, it's like this but he was such a stoic and so accustomed to not making people uncomfortable, that even the people who are close to them didn't quite know at happened. >> did any other president ever in such constant physical discomfort? including franklin roosevelt? >> hard to think of one. i think -- "profiles in courage"
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in 1964, at least half of his days on earth were spent in physical pain. and if that's the truth i think more than franklin was a, absolutely. >> you must have been thinking about arthur's questions as you are researching this book, and he was a friend of all of ours. were the questions he didn't ask that you wish that he had? >> everything is always 2020, in hindsight, 47 years later. caroline mentioned. in those days most historians would not have thought to ask her a lot about her own experience. a first lady in those days, even knowing a historians such as arthur schlesinger, there is less of her and also for the purpose of the oral history basically to talk about president kennedy. but caroline and i have discussed this, too. there are things that since we
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know what happened later on we sure wish he would have asked, what present in the my to did in vietnam, other issues that were not so important during 1964, that in retrospect we think are now very important. >> it seems like by asking arthur, and there was no one else to ask with better skills and training, the decision was made to take a certain path to the story which was the path of the harvard elite to come down to the white house. dick, did you see other stories that were not told? >> yes, including anything that arthur told because arthur was the greatest author of stories about self. [laughter] i know specifically because kenny o'donnell told me, demos came to visit the present. kitty particular message in the middle of the. would you please get arthur
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schlesinger off the list of people who get my cables? why? because arthur was about the most garrulous party going person him and the whole white house. doesn't do anything you get by cable has around town by nightfall. so in any, he said, no, you better not. i'll have to do. you're going to come out poorly in his book as it is. [laughter] >> and one thing in your, how many compartmentalized president kennedy's life was, she explicitly mentioned the staff. >> yes. and you know, one of the things that i found remarkable, but it's real, nobody in the staffer did business in memos. we communicated by phone, and
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conversation, and that's it. so there are not great records. >> one reason the oral history program. >> that's right. and it made it very refreshing when you could know that something that you had seen or done was not recorded, but you could also see -- >> was there anything in particular you would have -- [laughter] >> no. >> it's not too late, dick. >> no. i have saved that for my book. [laughter] >> no. the thing that i remember best about all of that was when we came -- didn't know. there was something about getting some stuff done at the white house, and everybody would
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get all excited about what is so it's a writing a memo, why are doing that? we don't need a memo. just get things done. i think dave remarked that no historian, we should have distant people to give a report of what went on. that was his personal look at the president, the president's attempt to deal with people on the staff. but the people on the staff dealt very, very generously with one another. coming, generously generously, not so generously, but critically, you bet. but not in the sense that she's sensitive way, nor will be a thing to do what another.
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although i could have been. [laughter] but the most important memory i have of the thing was the formation of the campaign for the presidency. and that really began with the fight for the control of the democratic state committee in massachusetts. >> this is onion spurred. >> yes. and onions burke was from the western part of the state. i think because they have an onion patch out their. >> he was an onion farmer as well as a bartender. >> well, that was not untypical of the leadership of the party. [laughter] >> hasn't changed. [laughter] >> no, no. but it started because that was when we determined that this guy here just been elected to the
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senate and should take a shot at getting control of the mechanics of the party. now, that is really when you get recognition nationally. nobody cares who is chairman of the democratic party in new hampshire or anyplace else. but who were the officers. but if you're getting ready for a convention, to people who care about who are the party leaders, want to know who's in charge. even though they find that being in charge doesn't put you in charge of much. [laughter] but they did. so that's who we started the party for the control for the democratic state committee. and it was a tumultuous events that went on and on and on, although i remember only clearly that it was on mother's day in the year in which the election was held when we were in the
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hotel park plaza, whatever it is, and the president was anything the people for the state committee and asking if they supported him or not. and if they did, we thought they were wonderful people. and if they seemed a little hesitant we want to find out speedy's and you remembered years later he was 40 and who was against you? >> all, yes, you knew. [laughter] all, you remembered it, yes. and if you wanted to get a ticket to those for the white house, you better have been on the right side. stuck in 1956. >> yes. but that's when it began, and it was a crucial campaign. we didn't have onions burke and juicy -- >> who was about?
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>> mrs. kennedy talk about these wonderful figures who had not been a part of her previous life like juicy and another gentleman has referred to as the china doll. >> jan speck help about them. >> you know, this is really goes back to the hotel bellevue, and the hotel bellevue which they're no longer exist, but was at that time a block from where the president's apartment was. and right across from the statehouse. it was the buzzword of all who were around. and the in and out, and we didn't have -- [inaudible] >> perhaps, but, you know, and it was not a place and you don't have the e-mails and twitters and all that type of thing. because you just met, we had a
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fellow at home we called whispering eddie smith. spent why did you call him whispering speakers because he whispered. [laughter] >> thank you. they would spread rumors as quickly as you could spread a disease. [laughter] we were getting ready for the fight for the control of the state committee. we had mayor lynch of somerville which was are changing, and they had onions burke was the champion of the mccormick's, but eddie mccormick's father was also on the state committee. >> he was the brother of house majority leader? >> yes. and he was about as different as the speaker as you could make. he was coarse and rough and
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tough. i remember when the sun it was withdrawing from a campaign for the attorney generalship or something of that nature, and the father stood in the middle of the aisle and the mechanics hall yelling at his son, sit down, that's a stupid thing to do. [laughter] he wasn't what you called a wise counselor that you think of in the back of a lot of these. but we got to this fight, and italy was convinced that there were big piles of money because the kennedys were going to buy this thing, and how much are you getting, you know, so i would hope sag, i hope there's something waiting for me. [laughter] dinner was waiting. but that was the leader of the day, and determine who is good and who is bad.
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but i continued on, and everybody is correct, people will recall where were they in the fight for lynch and o'neill, burke. and they never did get it's all. because people were still mad, much, much later, and they never ever would stop that spent i think they're still mad about 1980 or so. sky high hopes of talking about -- it really is fun to talk about onions burke. there are some fascinating what is in the story, michael. there is a hint that an open to china wasn't displayed in the mid '60s, quoting of mao and a trip to russia. did that strike you as a surprise when you heard that? >> i suspected it puts its the
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first time i had more solid evidence. john keane agency was being to plan his second term and to other things you plan to do was to go to the soviet union, the first time a present would've been there, believe it or not, and also an opening to china, which in retrospect given what our world is like today was enormously impression. pleased to say in private, save those for a second term after i'm reelected. >> and lyndon johnson, he worked extensively with, doesn't fare that well. mr. halvey went out one night in georgetown, had a bit too much to drink and just wasn't up to the job. does not track what your sense of where lbj was? >> i think mrs. kennedy it should read this letter upon would have said she was a little hard on lbj. this was the spring of 1964. lbj had just become president. she was not happy he was
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beginning to overturn a number of her husband's intentions but there were other personal things which been going on the previous months. and i think if she were here, the one cautionary note perhaps she would have wanted to emblazoned on the front of the book would be this is a snapshot in time, what she may have thought in spring of 1964 may not have tracked her feelings later on. and later on she said in oral history she came to resume her old fondness for lbj. she was very close to lady bird. so i think one thing he was have to move when you're reading this book is that some of the more fascinating opinions she didn't always keep years later. >> one interesting insight into his political temperament, dick, this is almost the opposite story about onions burke were everyone remembered which side you're on a 1956, but she said he had a remarkable magnanimity. that he forgive everyone at and is a little bit self-serving
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because you never knew he would need in the next fight, but also proceed from a genuine inclination to forgive. was that your sense of how he did politics? >> no one could understand how he could ever forgive the senator from florida, whose dear friend who stabbed him in the back every chance spent administration voting record was about 2%. >> when you have a need his vote he couldn't have. and then you'd find a present inviting him down to the white house for dinner. and we frequently complained about it, which did is absolutely no good because he continued to entertain him. and happily coming he got, he determined that his career was not going to be furthered in politics, and he got out of it. yeah, there were those, you could really understand why he could be so charitable to them.
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but he was forgiving, and his modus operandi was, if you may need him tomorrow, so you better not stab in in the back today, or things of that nature. and he was very, very fair about this. >> in these times it just about so much for me because she says i used to tell him, you know, why are you being so nice to that guy, hating him for the last three weeks because of what he did for you, and the present said oh, no, he's done such and such last week which was actually very good. and the thing that he says to her is never close off the relationship so that there's no possibility of reconciliation. and i do hope that everyone in washington right now will read that sentence and take it to heart. [applause] >> michael, the term soft power has been invoked for about a
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decade. i believe caroline uses the phrase in her forward. i don't know if there ever was a first lady before or sends who had that kind of ability to change people's attitudes around the world towards the united states. even if she doesn't talk about her, her political thoughts as much as we might like, there's clearly a sense of getting a great deal of done to support the administration, even in her choice of countries to visit, her choice of how to present herself, all the cultural work she was doing. was there anything like that before her speak what she really could see around corners and see things that others could not see. one of them was latin america, which then later on that very -- she thought it was important they went to costa rica. they went to mexico. they traveled there. one of the most poignant things
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in the book is she talks about a newspaper headline that mrs. kennedy was nice enough to actually shake hands with little children who were in a latin american country, because that was so unusual at the time. one test of american power is the nuclear weapons and so on, but oftentimes just as important is how people think about america in the heart. that's what the peace corps was about. >> there some wonderfully undiplomatic statements in this book speed is one or two? >> one '02, thank goodness. iser and she named her poodle the call in the 1950s. and intercontinental. >> that was my footnote. >> that was a nice detail. it does surprise you? speak when she says that she had, she came to have the same, i think opinion of french people
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as she did of people of wisconsin. [laughter] and i think sort of for the same reason, because wisconsin did not ultimately vote overwhelmingly for john kennedy, and the french, particularly charles de gaulle was giving her husband a great deal of trouble. so i think you can see these things to some extent as a great test. >> there some people in which as well in the middle of the account of the cuban missile crisis, just a throwaway line. there was no day and the night spent no difference between sleeping and waking. i thought that was fashionable in the toughest things i think in the store and always has to do, i think you'd agree with us, we talked about this a little bit, is to find out what someone to face, the death of his or her religious belief, particularly a president, but also the true nature of marriage. she described the cuban missile crisis that they were together probably more during that period than perhaps any other time during the presidency. he would call her and it go for
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walks on the lawn, spend a lot of time together. and it does tell you something because you were mentioning franklin roosevelt. he had mired eleanor but when he was in a moment of great anxiety, i don't think he would have finder restful or supportive company, probably would not have spent a lot of time with her in a crisis like this. in the case of jfk, who does he turn to? jackie. >> would any parts of this cd set and books, dick, that surprised you? >> not really, but i must say that i was marveled at her concern about, for instance, the remodeling of the white house. the detail that she went to and that she had to research that she did, and then her ability to administer it is really overwhelmingloverwhelming.
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i just can't believe a person could do it on such notice and russia been planning much longer than we know. spent i think it was, when she came to the white house, 11 experience with mrs. eisenhower who did not treat her terribly well. she was shown through the state rooms, and she said they look like bad convention hotel. there was a reason for that, which i'm not sure she knew, which is when the white house was reconstructed during the truman administration, they left the four walls on the outside, scooped out everything on inside, the floors and so on, they ran out of money so harry truman quite characteristically made a deal with a department store in new york, they just furnished the whole ground floor of the white house, and it looked that way. [laughter] she felt a day. by dick is absent the right,
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because sometimes the restoration of the white house of written off as pure declaration or just sort of superficial. she had to raise this money, which was not easy. she had to keep particularly to the three to five architectural advisers from the essentially collide with one another. and so if anyone doubts her political skills, the factious able to do all this, get it in on time, under budget, and for the white house to look the way it does today, and if it were not for her i think the white house would still look like a bad convention house spent the eisenhower still come off terribly well. president eisenhower is walking around in call choose leaving little holes on the floor. mamie eisenhower is not a very prophetic figure. but i felt a little sorry for her because to have been seeded by jacqueline kennedy must not have been the easiest thing. >> i think not, that as
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mrs. kennedy says, things would drift to her is such as mrs. eisenhower saying about the restoration, i hear they made the red room purple, things like this. >> we're at an interesting moment in the history of publication because i wasn't sure whether to listen or to read and which would be faster, and really between the two you get so much more from hearing her speak. although i want alarming moment in my car. i had it all flowed in i actually left one cd from keith richards in the middle. >> i think she would love that, wouldn't she? [laughter] >> but do you think your readers and her readers, i mean, are the even readers? or should people listen to this? >> i think both. you get different experiences. when you read it i think you can perhaps absorb what is said a little bit more, but when you listened i think you're right. it's probably true of most takes
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of this kind. you get a sense, in fact, i've heard caroline talk about this, you hear her tone of voice, you just can't possibly get just reading the words. >> right. we are now at the part of this event where we are taking questions, and i've a few just to begin. this is for you, dick. she talks about joseph p. kennedy and rose kennedy. he must have known those two individuals. to her impressions match with your memories of them and her interactions with them in public? >> yes. [laughter] >> you see why i had a very long career in political life. and distinguished. >> well -- [laughter] know, mr. kennedy was very much a dominant figure in almost everything that went on in the political life of john kennedy.
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his mother was even more dominant on their prayer life, and kept after them for all the reasons that good mothers do. i mean, make responsible children. but they kept very, very close track of what each was doing. and so i would not disagree with anybody who thinks they were enormously influential. the only thing i am conscious of, however, ambassador kennedy could not influence certain people in the democratic party. i mean, people that we were supporting, he frankly did not spend who are you thinking of?
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>> well, i'm just thinking about one fight that we had, and he just was not responsive. i mean, well, bobby was the responsive one. and what happened was that bobby had indicted the brother of a congressman from new york, and the congressman who had been very, very responsive to us wanted desperately for the indictment to be withdrawn. body refused. -- body refused. they didn't talk to the ambassador said no, he is going to do what he does anyway. so it costs us something, but not a great deal. but it's the type of thing which they would differ. and if he differed, he differed.
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because he was one strong rascal. spent i think around that time ambassador kennedy used to joke that he was robert taft democrat. michael, what's surprised you the most? did any of her assessments of key players differ from your views and those of other historians? >> sure, and all sorts of ways. but i think the thing that really surprised me was that if we were talking a year ago, i would have said that she was a large influence during that period, but i would have particularly said that she was a large political figure of this administration do and i think if you read this book you have to say that because a number of times she talks mainly about people but not always only about people. and you noted that the people she's very critical of wound up not doing terribly well during the administration, vice versa. to some extent i think she was
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-- but she does talk about a few cases where for instance, she was in pakistan which have been added to her trip to india for political reasons. and two things happened actually. john kenneth culbreth was the ambassador to india whom john can have known since the 1930 when he was at harvard. the ambassador to pakistan did not have that kind of relationship, so for diplomatic reasons he thought it was a good idea to imply that walter mcconaghy and pakistan have got an equally but some relationship with the president. mrs. kennedy sort of implying that president thinks there will of ambassador mcconaghy and so on. that's funny, i've only met him once when i left to take this job to meet with you. so that didn't work terribly well. but not as a result of this, but having been in pakistan and watched him in action she went right back on and wrote her husband a memo saying this is
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exactly the kind of ambassador we should not have in a job like this, and it went to the state department, and ambassador mcconaghy, he served until 1966. so maybe a comment on dean rusk. >> she didn't seem to get as involved in domestic policy, which agrees because i don't know that she didn't get involved because, for instance, the talk about the monuments, the s-1 dam flooding, i remember going to see john tesh at what the heck was sustained? congressman who was in charge of the appropriation. >> with even politically very eager to help egypt at that point? >> no, he was not. he was politically, he was not at all anxious to help the president because he fancied himself being in opposition that
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strengthened him domestically. but he was -- i went up to call him off the floor to ask them to please vote for things that the president wanted, and he eventually said yes, he would. but he never forget me for it. >> you've got another question for michael but as a presidential the story are you aware of any first lady prior to jaclyn kid who provide a candid public revelation of her experience in the white house? >> no. and one thing that you study her life, she always broke the mold pictures always innovating and perhaps maybe premier the most important innovation she made was this idea that should be as for eight half hours very personal questions in great detail about her time as first
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lady. that had not happened before cut and since then it almost always happens. first ladies even writes book -- even write books. >> her wit and the sense that she and president kennedy were sharing. >> is a wonderful story if i can interject for a second where a state visit, they were trying to make the best of it. oftentimes as she said window is a leader is coming to the white house, the present would bring the later upstairs to visit with a first lady in sort of a special thing to do. the car and was set to publish his art collection, published by the chinese. mrs. kennedy, but can't because she went into got a copy of the collection of the book from the state department about 20 minutes before he arrived.
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she wasn't able to read it before he got there, so he was there on the sofa. mr. skinny on one side, the president on the other. and said this wonderful book of the art collection. opened in virtually every page was a topless woman. [laughter] and he would pick through it. there was my second wife. there was my third wife. and she says, jack and i had to make such a nose effort to keep from laughing. but almost didn't make it. >> could you tell how funny she was? >> well, i'll tell a funny story about her family. she was very close to her sister, who was married to the prince of poland. and he came here during the campaign and he was very big in the polish crowd, but he was not an american citizen. he was a polish citizen. the drive was to get them out to
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see the people. and this fella worked in the state department was a very, very powerful political figure in the polish world. so he definitely wanted stash to come to this district, to campaign. i said we can't do that. we can't have a forum dignitary dashed foreign dignitary campaigning in a domestic election. well, he said let me see what i can do. so next thing i remember is i get a call dick, last night stash was a smash. you hear me? last night stash was a smash. thank you, stash.
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[laughter] spent in pennsylvania what democratic that your by a larger margin to we now know the reas reason. >> michael alluded earlier to the toxic political climate we live in now. day, how do think president kennedy would have negotiable thing that kind of climate? how would he have helped our system? >> i really do not know with this system as we have it today. where people refused to tolerate the other person's view, how he could possibly have owned up to it. when i left washington, which is exactly a week before the presidentwas assassinated, i've been working on the civil rights bill. we have put together, a lot of work, a real coalition of republicans and democrats
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prepare to support a real civil rights bill. it was, and i left washington with a certain assurance that it was over, there was no need to do it. i used to be able to name the republican congressman that i could line up on almost any given matter because they had respected president kennedy and they respected the things he stood for. you don't have any of that today. no one respects anybody else. no one would share with anyone else. so i do not know how he could fit in today's world. unless he could have bombed them or something. >> one thing that sort of does it for me is today's program, when he went to congress and dick, i'm sure was a part of this, the national security a lot of republicans did want to spend my said if our president tells me that national security
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is a mistake, i'll vote for it, which they did. >> well, i think we should all take from this book and measure of optimism about ways that are system can perform well at its very best. on that note -- >> even though we're not american idol, there's no phone number for you to call in, pleasure boat, at our bookstore does report directly to the new your times bestseller. so if you'd like to keep "jacqueline kennedy" ahead of dick cheney on that list we encourage you all -- [applause] -- to buy a copy or two or three of the book at our bookstore. i ask you to remain in your seats if you were. the book signing will be right outside this door. those of you in the satellite room, they'll become in to the front of the line will form literally around the back of this wall. but most of all what i want to do is to thank caroline kennedy
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for her comments, and for this terrific panel, michael beschloss, richard donahue. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at or tweet us at >> it's the sesquicentennial of the civil war and an elaborate of congress is in on the action. this is a new book put out by the library, illustrated timeline of the civil war. and margaret wagner is the author and editor and spent i am the author of the book. >> do you look -- work for the library full times because i'm a writer and editor on the staff of the publishing library. >> what are we going to find in this book? will we find library of congress artifex? >> you will find over 360
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library of congress artifacts, a number of them never have seen the light of day before. would never publish them before. and you find an animated timeline covering many of the aspects of the war which is one reason we did this timeline. many civil war books cover the battles are the politics are one aspect. and with the timeline approach we were able to a cover all sorts of events, including those. >> margaret wagner, with pictures in the book what are some other things we will see that perhaps have not been seen before? >> you will see some manuscripts that we have not published before. you will see, we have a new collection of civil war photographs that were just donated to the library this past year. and some of those are in the book. you see this very sort of charming, like a moving picture
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depiction of the civil war. you will find drawings like civil war special artists and maps and illustrator envelopes with a lot of, you know, civil war fervor, political messages and patriotic messages. you will find sort of the people and the voices but there are lots of quotes in the book, and that's one of the reasons i love working at the lie buried and on projects like this because you get to know so many of the people got and the people in the civil war era were very eloquent and very opinionated, and i've come to like many of them. >> is as divided between north and south? >> interlace us amongst north and south, and the border states, and it also brings in the international aspect for all
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over the world. especially in europe. people were watching what happens in the united states, with the union survived, would government of by and for the people survive. this was a huge test that was important to other people besides us. >> writing a book for the library of congress, how is that a different experience perhaps than just independent office because you have a great responsibility, as all authors do, but you represent the library's collections and the libraries standards, and also it's a great privilege because you tiptoe through the collections and have the assistance of curators and specialists of the library. so i learned a great deal with every single project i work on there. >> do you get the proceeds as the author of this book is? >> no, the libra gets the
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proceeds. that goes back into a revolving fund so that were able to publish other books. the library as you asia is the largest labor in the world that has more than 147 million items. about 20 million are online, but that leaves 127 million that are not. so our mission is to introduce people to materials that they might not find online. and in this book come at the end of the book there is an appendix to introduce people to the civil war collections in the library and gives them information about them, and web addresses. so this is our mission, to let people know what we have. >> is this suitable for high school students, from middle age students? >> absolutely. as a matter of fact, i just had his students taught by you and your telling me they were studying the civil war in social
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science. we had a nice chat about it so it's perfect for students, as well as for civil war aficionados. >> margaret wagner is the author of this new library of congress book, "the library of congress illustrated timeline of the civil war." and. >> recently "the new york times" released their top 10 best books of 2011. here are the five nonfiction titles. ..


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